It’s often said to special needs parents that they need to mourn the loss of the child they thought they would have. The camp is split on this one. Some parents agree, some find it utterly distasteful and offensive. I’m in camp 1. I needed to mourn the loss of the healthy child I was expecting up to 35 weeks of pregnancy. I was almost there you see. All was going so well, the scans showed me that, so in my mind I was plaiting lovely long hair, shopping with a teenager, my best friend for life, and imagining myself as a Nanny. Not an old Nanny, a wise and loving one (I had great role models). But then BAM, my future was changed. I got on with it, I loved my baby girl and would do anything for her, and I still believed that she would progress well, other than mobility wise. When she was three I was starting to see that might not be the case and started counselling. I was told I was allowed to grieve. I was offended. In fact my words were ‘grieve? She didn’t die’. But my dreams did a little. Hearing that was enough. I cried a lot for the loss of my dreams.
All that said, this doesn’t mean that those that remain ‘offended’ are wrong. We react based on who we are, our emotions and sensitivities. I would never try to change the mind of a fellow warrior parent. It’s an incredibly personal journey.
Anyway, I grieved, not for long as I had asses to kick, and I felt much lighter for having permission to do so.
Today I am mourning. Not the loss of dreams or people, but of the opportunity to have these shoes in my life. They appeared on my Facebook feed this morning. They are luscious. In my previous life I would have bought these shoes. I had the money. I had a place to wear them. I had clothes that went with them, and if I didn’t, I could buy some. I should point out that I’ve never been loaded, but I could afford high street, every now and then.
I seem spoilt? I merely use this as an example of the changes in my life. It’s a sad fact that a lot of carers have to give up work or at the very least reduce their hours. I have many friends in this boat. Friends who had good careers, nurses, solicitors, managers, doctors. They have taken a huge pay cut. Carers are entitled to Carers Allowance of £60 a week. It’s not a great deal, but it is a benefit. It’s a misconception that carers get free dentistry, prescriptions, free early years nursery places from two, free school dinners. Some of course may if they are on other benefits but carers allowance on its own doesn’t trigger this. It’s also a fact that carers don’t have much of a social life! A trip to slimming class is equal to a night out! (But to be honest I miss my babies when I’m apart from them.)